The cascading impact of COVID-19 outbreak on markets has created a variety of challenges for the waste industry. Waste pickup is a vital service that must continue to operate. However, measures can be taken to further protect the team’s health and safety. In this article, we will cover essential changes in the ongoing operations, as well as new ways of thinking to overcome this difficult period responsibly and safely.
Awareness and Training
The city/waste pickup contractor should have a clear protocol on how to operate the waste department during the COVID-19 outbreak. It should include the measures taken on the management level, as well as the pickup teams as a part of the process. See the sample checklist below. Every team member would be required to participate in a training session (can be done online), and acknowledge participating and understanding the protocol.
Compliance and Monitoring
The COVID-19 protocol implementation should be enforced as a part of the daily operation. A mechanism can be in place to create a checklist for the teams, which will be implemented before, during and after each round. All checklists will be logged and stored in a central repository to allow monitoring and visibility for the management. Before pickup, consider the following checklist template:
- Confirm sanitary inventory
- 50 gloves
- Protective gear
- Confirm each employee’s temperature
- Check for new daily instructions/notifications
- Complete an acknowledgement form of the checklist
Where applicable, teams should receive a notification before approaching infected locations. In such cases:
- Before pickup:
- Wear protective gear (mask, replace gloves before/after)
- Have bags ready
- Alert residents on pickup, requesting to keep distance during pickup
- After pickup
- Confirm clean area
- Activate compactor
- Apply hand sanitizer
- Replace gloves
- Wipe surfaces
- Wipe tablet/phone
Upon round completion, log and document checklist.
Keeping Safe and Healthy
Maintaining and monitoring a COVID-19 protocol for waste pickup during such times is essential, and will greatly improve your ability to provide a vital service, while keeping your team safe and healthy.